February 1, 2012
ANGARA: GOVT, BUSINESS AND ACADEME MUST WORK TOGETHER
Senator Edgardo J. Angara today urged participants of the "Boosting Filipinnovation: LEAP 2012 National Conference-Workshop on Technology Innovation, Quality and Productivity" to help in rebuilding science and technology (S&T) of the country.
"We used to be the teacher in all of Asia: we were teaching the Thais, the Malays, but what has happened to us? In 2009 alone, about 25,000 S&T workers left the country. We currently have only 165 R&D personnel per million Filipinos when UNESCO recommends at least 380."
"Not prioritizing science and technology has left us floundering in global competitiveness leagues, placing only 75th among 142 nations in the 2011-2012 Global Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum," said Angara.
"It is through innovation that businesses, and naturally, economy, will flourish," Angara emphasized. "But in terms of innovation activities, the 2009 Survey of Innovation Activities reports that only 54 percent of local firms actively engage in some form of innovation activity-- only 7 percent of them received government support."
"Enterprises are the backbone of our economy- not just the large ones, but more so, the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME's), which account for 99.6 percent of all registered businesses in the country."
Citing that two reasons for the slow development of innovation is passive government support and weak knowledge and cooperation networks, Angara explains, "The Philippines spends only 0.12 percent of GDP in research and development (R&D), while UNESCO recommends an investment of at least 2 percent of GDP for developing countries. China on the other hand has spent more than US$100 Million every year on R&D since 1999."
Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Math, Science, Technology and Engineering called for increased collaboration says, "Innovation will not happen when there is coordination among government, academe and industry, and that is what we should achieve: a unity among these three groups to facilitate not just sustainable innovation, but technology transfer to industry."
"But I am not losing hope. In the Senate, we are working on policies that will help this happen, and on the ground we have talented and creative people to make things work. If we work together, we can make innovation happen, and improve the competitiveness of our country."
Held at the University of the Philippines, National College of Public Administration and Governance (UP-NCPAG), the workshop was organized by the UP Institute for Small-Scale Industries (ISSI), the Small Enterprise Research and Development Foundation (SERDEF), and the Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI).
Thursday, August 25